Robert H. Klima, P.C.
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Discussing Future Contact - Open Adoption

In your initial discussions with the birth mother, it is probable that at some point you will talk about what contact or information she would like to have in the future.  You should be prepared for this discussion.

People's attitudes about future contact with birth parents vary a great deal. There are those who still want no contact at all, and there are those who think that frequent visits with birth parents is always a good thing.  The truth is that there is no right answer for everybody.  You have to decide what you are genuinely comfortable with.  Some birth parents are easier to work with than others.

It is not required that whatever future arrangement is agreed to be made legally binding.  But what is important to understand, is that unless a Post Adoption Contact and Communication Agreement (PACCA) is agreed to, all adoptions in Virginia are legally closed adoptions.  That does not mean that you cannot have an agreement.  It just means that it is not enforceable.

A PACCA is an agreement which must meet certains specific statutory requirements.  Once it is properly drafted and signed, it will be incorporated into the Final Order of Adoption which makes it both modifiable and enforceable by the Circuit Court.  For this reason, most adoptive parents should not enter into such an agreement casually.  Other states which have had such agreements longer than Virginia have many cases which have been filed by birth parents seeking to modify or enforce visitation.  You may not want to expose yourself to this.

However, if the agreement is not reduced to writing and is not legally enforceable, it may still be something you want to consider.  The real issue is whether or not the agreement is in the best interests of the child, and that may be quite different from case to case.

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